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November 5, 2018 7:34 pm  #1

American Radio History Page - CN Tower 1975

Came across an extraordinary history of broadcast page with archives of newsletters and documents for the North American markets.

Below is a heavy technical document of the CN Tower - "The Ultimate Antenna"


November 5, 2018 8:12 pm  #2

Re: American Radio History Page - CN Tower 1975

I believe the gentleman that runs that site is a recent SOWNY member and perhaps he'll weigh in on your find. He has quite an amazing collection going back decades. 

Not sure how far down you scrolled, but there's a very interesting section a number of pages in that lists this edict from the CRTC:

Now remember, this is from 1975. Simsub began in 1972, so I'm not entirely sure if what's listed in that fragment relates to that hated policy. But if not, it brings up an intriguing question. The text reads  "...plans for the deletion of commercials from signals of U.S. stations. The commercials are to be replaced  with suitable material."

The article then goes on to note that not ALL spots have to be removed right away, which just makes the order all the more curious. As far as I can remember, cable operators in Canada never removed U.S. commercials, unless of course, they were doing simsub. But that's not what this sounds like or at least it's not clear if that's what it means. If you weren't programming the same show at the same time, it makes absolutely no sense.  

And exactly what is "suitable material?"

Does anyone know if this was ever done, when it stopped or why it never happened at all? It certainly seems pretty extreme in any event. 


November 5, 2018 8:58 pm  #3

Re: American Radio History Page - CN Tower 1975

As I recall, no it was never done or implemented in this form.  As I recall, it was the next step in the already existing channel substitution system/policy.

I remember reading about it in The Toronto Daily Star at the time. There was a strong displeasure from American network affiliates to the CRTC proposed policy.

Buffalo TV stations were very much against the announced plan. I remember watching a news report on WBEN Channel 4 at the time.  They station management threatened to alter or block the transmission of their signal into southern Ontario.  Engineers gave a demonstration showing what the signal impairment would look like on a typical TV set.  Remember analog NTSC SNOW ???

The Buffalo stations each had a large viewing audience from southern Ontario at this point in time... 

The Buffalo affiliates were scared and threatened, but they banded together a mounted a very strong offense.  If they altered their transmission patterns to impair the signals, there would be no American commercials to delete.

The CRTC eventually "got the picture".... 



November 5, 2018 9:05 pm  #4

Re: American Radio History Page - CN Tower 1975

Wow. I have absolutely no memory of that. I'm certainly glad it never happened. This is what it looks like when you go overboard on protecting Canadian identity and believing any influence from south of the border is somehow terrible.   

What a bizarre and stupid idea from the CRTC.


November 5, 2018 9:39 pm  #5

Re: American Radio History Page - CN Tower 1975

In looking through what few web articles are available, I think I may have found part of the answer. 

They seem to suggest that commercial stripping did, in fact, begin, with Rogers leading the way. The Americans took the case to court - and lost! In a decision that seems incredibly ridiculous by today's "rights" standards, a Federal Appeals Court judge determined that once American signals left their airspace, the Canadian government could essentially do whatever it wanted with them.

In the end (and I do remember this part) Canada passed a law that stripped Canadian advertisers of tax breaks if they put their commercials on border stations - and the numbers dropped drastically after that, solving the problem and obviating the need for the commercial stripping. 

At least I think that's what may have happened. 

New York Times, Jan. 24, 1975: Canadians May Lose Right To Tax Breaks For U.S. Ads 

Cdn. Journal of Communication: "The American Trojan Horse" Review